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POLL: City Council OKs Rabies Reporting

After lengthy debate, councilors decide on redistricting map version 2.

The Watsonville City Council went back to one of the original redistricting plans Tuesday evening, unanimously selecting version 2 of the plan.

The councilors overrode in their decision. 

The council also unanimously ruled that veterinarians in the city will have to turn over their rabies vaccine records to the county .

, but Melanie Sobel, general manager of the animal shelter, said Tuesday night that the rabies reporting will also be a revenue-generating mechanism for the cash-strapped agency. The rabies reports will give shelter staff a line on dog owners who need to buy licenses for their pets, she explained.

Sobel said about 14 percent of dogs countywide are licensed but that number is just 11 percent in Watsonville.

“Licensing brings in revenue," Sobel said. "If we don’t have new revenue coming in, the way the economy is going, we’re going to have to make cuts next year.”

City Councilor Nancy Bilicich said she hoped the rabies vaccination reports could have a trickle-down effect for public safety.

"We’ve had people come and talk to us about dangerous dogs and being attacked in the neighborhoods," Bilicich said, referring to a woman was attacked and almost lost her foot as a result. "… I don’t want any more dangerous dogs. I don’t want put public safety at risk.”

Felipe Hernandez, a redistricting committee member, said he's also worried about public safety—his dog was bitten by a pit bull.

“I don’t see how having a database of owners that have done rabies is going to increase public safety," Hernandez said, expressing concern that the new rabies reporting requirement will just cause vets to charge more for services.

The proposal to report rabies vaccinations to the county, which has already been passed by other city councils in Santa Cruz County, passed unanimously.

Jennifer Squires September 14, 2011 at 07:54 PM
Here's Councilman Emilio Martinez's take on the meeting: http://watsonvillefishingreport.com/posts/news-flash-rumor-city-council-notes
Morgan Martinez September 14, 2011 at 10:32 PM
I have to say, I may be biased and all, but I like the Watsonville Fishing Report. Thanks for adding the link.

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